Nino Rota’s one-act opera I due timidi (The two shy ones) is a comedy of two young people who, having seen each other from across the courtyard, have fallen madly in love and are desperate to find the courage to say ‘buongiorno’ to each other. When calamity befalls Raimondo, namely a window-shutter falling on his head and knocking him out, he feels the need to reveal his emotions to his beloved. In his delirium he confesses his love to his caregiver, but it is not his beloved Mariuccia as he supposes, rather the nasty hotel owner Signora Guidotti. She could never believe herself so lucky to have a young man like this fall in love with her, so she seizes the opportunity, claiming that he has changed her life forever and given her back her youth. In the apartment opposite, Mariuccia is so affected by seeing her darling Raimondo injured that she falls into a stupor and her mother calls for the doctor. Doctor Sinisgalli’s affection for Mariuccia is clear and he aids her tenderly. In a daze, and unaware of the Doctor’s presence, Mariuccia expresses her feelings for Raimondo and how she had hoped he would return to see her. The Doctor takes her words to be a reply to his proposal and Mariuccia’s mother returns to news of their engagement. Being too shy to explain their mistakes, Raimondo and Mariuccia go on to marry their new partners and forsake the love they had for each other from across the courtyard. Written by the composer of the famous ‘Speak Softly Love’, the theme to The Godfather movie, Nino Rota’s hilarious opera is a great work for an ensemble cast, with some truly beautiful operatic melodies woven into a contemporary sitcom-style environment.
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